Miss me? I disappeared on you there for a spell. But I had a pretty darn good reason.
I spent the spring and early summer working the night shift at a San Cris posada and sleeplessly dashing out to Chalchi High during the day. In just two (very busy) months, we prepared a play for high school graduation and wrote and produced our very first social soap opera or telenovela. It has been a dream of mine ever since my first Chalchi rehearsal to one day guide the kids in creating their own work. And, if you recall last year’s struggle with Improvisation, you’ll know how proud I feel today to present you with their first original telenovela, Amores Chalchihuitecos (Chalchuitecan Love).
On July 5th, half of the group–my second class–now Las Jades y El Cielo thanks to the male addition to our group, graduated (performing a second piece–the play “Cargando Leña” by Isabel Juarez Espinosa) and I was able to present them with DVDs of their masterpiece and pictures of them rehearsing over the years. I pulled several all nighters to finish on time and the morning of our DVD party–the day before graduation–I ran like a wild turkey from one corner of San Cristóbal to the other making copies, printing graphics, and finding surprises for the fiesta. All while, um, running a business. It was an exhausting, seemingly endless gauntlet of headache nursing and stress crying.
And it was one of the single best things I have ever done.
The joy and excitement I experienced when Las Jades y El Cielo watched their work for the first time was absolutely unreal–a treasure whose value far exceeded my small offering of time and patience. Just look at their faces!
Amores Chalchihuitecos is a tribute to these young artists’ incredible talent. For many of them, it was their first experience writing and acting. But you wouldn’t know it watching them. And I can credit myself only with accompanying them as they created their heartwork–a social soap opera based on their very true stories, woven together through a process of improvisation and storytelling exercises from the Theatre of the Oppressed. When they wrote the telenovela’s conclusion–what you will see as the soap opera’s first ending–we talked about its dark tone and the message they were trying to send with the story, which they unanimously agreed would be about domestic violence. So, they opted to add an alternative ending–one of the solutions they proposed for the soap opera’s main conflict. My contribution was little more than to help them organize their ideas and teach them the building blocks of telling a story through theater. They took this knowledge, ran with it, and created THIS.
Without further ado, I present you with Las Jades y El Cielo’s original telenovela, Amores Chalchihuitecos.
Special thanks goes to the amazing Roberto Hess for creating subtitles in English and Spanish! Haz clic aquí para Amores Chalchihuitecos con subtitulos en español.